T.M. Krishna preferred to concentrate on sangita rather than sahitya, in his Rasanubhava concert.
Sri Tyagaraja's extraordinary genius shines in two dimensions — sangita and sahitya. Together they speak of his greatness.
In his Rasanubhava concert at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, T.M. Krishna confined himself to the unfathomable quality of sangita, in particular, the way the saint-poet carried the raga beyond the confines of the arohana-avarohana scales. Like the anagata nada, the way Tyagaraja flashed the soul of a raga in the very first phrase in every kirtana, was put across well by Krishna.
Speaking specifically about the ragas Khambodi, Begada, Sriranjani, Ritigowla, Nalinakanti and Mukhari, Krishna sang snatches of songs from these ragas to illustrate his analytical study of how Tyagaraja stands apart.
He preferred not to talk much about the equally ecstatic sahitya of the saint composer. The kirtanas, which are unrivalled in philosophical and ethical profundity, have ruled the hearts of the listeners.
Well chosen kritis
Following his general observations, Krishna presented a conventional concert, with excellent choice of kirtanas. This part of the programme did not live up to the observations earlier, because the sahitya received scant respect at his hands.
The elasticity he introduced into the interpretation of the kirtanas failed to convey the sahitya wealth, musical resources and structural eminence which are the essential features that draw the adoration of rasikas. Words were mumbled to make way for his presentation of the technique of imposing compulsive aesthetics.
The ambling gait of the sancharas in the alapanas and the rendering of kritis created an impression of their movement as if being dragged. Brief outlines of Mayamalavagowla and Kalyani formed the alapanas.
The list of songs included ‘Merusamana' (Mayamalavagowla), ‘Etavunara' (Kalyani), ‘Nadopasana' (Begada), ‘Hechcharigaga Rara' (Yadukulakhambodi) and ‘Tulasamma' (Devagandhari). The listeners could identify the words from what they had heard from earlier.
Accompanists B.U. Ganesh Prasad (violin), Melakkaveri Balaji (mridangam) and Arvind Atreya (ganjira), with great fidelity toed the line of Krishna's exposition.
The truth is that in understanding the genius of Tyagaraja through Rasanubhava, vidwans and rasikas alike are like the elephant and the blind men!